Shotguns are the ultimate all-purpose firearm. With your favorite shotgun, you can head to the range to bust a few clays, clear a doorway when defending the homestead, or down a deer with slugs buckshot. Therefore, it is no surprise that shotguns are anything but a sideshow. Here are 20+ top scatterguns to fit every shooter’s high demands.
By Richard Mann
Precision rifles and compact handguns seem to be all anyone wants to talk about these days. Although all the hustle and bustle is happening in holsters and at 1,000 yards, there are still shooters quietly going about their business, shouldering shotguns, and knocking things out of the sky. Those folks can enter 2018 with eager anticipation, because manufacturers have not forgotten them. And, for those who think of a shotgun only as a fighting firearm, you have some new tactical scatterguns to consider.
Browning’s High Grade Program is moving into its sixth year with limited-production Citori 725 Grade VI Field Model 12 and 20 gauge shotguns. The gold-enhanced receiver engravings and Grade V/VI walnut stocks exude class and workmanship. The receiver has a silver-nitride finish and a Fire Lite Mechanical trigger system. Offered with 26- or 28-inch barrels, these new models are supplied with a canvas/distressed leather fitted case. SRP: $5,999
The new Citori 725 Golden Clays Trap 12 gauge over/under features gold-accented engraving on the right, left, and bottom of the receiver, and a silver-nitride finish. The stock and forearm are grade V/VI walnut with a gloss-oil finish, close-radius pistol grip, and palm swell. A Pro Fit Adjustable Monte Carlo comb and adjustable GraCoil Recoil Reduction System, with a Graco buttpad plate that adjusts for angle and location, are standard. Available with 30- or 32-inch barrels, Browning has introduced precision-rifle adjustability to the shotgun world. SRP: $5,739
The Citori CXS and Citori CXT Adjustable Comb models are multipurpose over/under 12-gauge shotguns for various target-shooting endeavors. The CXS features a blued finish receiver with gold-accented engravings. The ported barrels are topped with a floating rib, and the stock and forearm are gloss-finished Grade II American walnut, with an adjustable comb and Schnabel-style forearm. The CSX is intended as a crossover shotgun for hunting, sporting clays, and skeet. SRP: $2,539
The new CXT has a blued receiver with gold-accented engravings. The barrels feature a high-post floating rib and ventilated side and top ribs. The stock and forearm are gloss-finished Grade II American walnut, with an adjustable comb and semi-beavertail forearm with finger grooves. Intended for trap, the CXT is supplied with three Midas Grade choke tubes with 30- or 32-inch barrels. SRP: $2,599
Also new is the Silver Field Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades 12 gauge semi-auto shotgun. It has an aluminum-alloy receiver and black/charcoal bi-tone finish. This 3½-inch gas-operated autoloader also features a stock and forearm in Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades camo. Available with either a 26- or 28-inch barrel. SRP: $1,139
One of CZ-USA’s fanciest over/under shotguns, the Supreme Field, features Grade III wood and copious amounts of hand-engraved scrollwork. Its polished-nickel receiver features auto ejectors and a mechanical single-selectable trigger. Five extended chokes are included. SRP: $1,699
CZ-USA’s most affordable over/under shotgun gains two sub-gauge variants for 2018. Identical to the larger shotguns, but in 28-gauge and .410-bore, these diminutive shotguns are built on steel CNC actions, have a mid-rib, and are clad in Turkish walnut stocks. SRP: $679
CZ’s 3½-inch Swamp Magnum might make a rifleman want to become a shotgunner. It looks mean and serious, and now with shorter 26-inch barrels and extended choke options, the Reaper Magnum gives the turkey hunter the ability to choose a tight choke for long shots and an open choke for closer shots. With a drilled-and-tapped top Picatinny-style rail, mounting an optic is easy. The polymer stocks are clad in Realtree Xtra Green to help them blend in the world of the turkey. SRP: $959
Given the huge popularity of its Hammer Coach, CZ-USA thought it time to introduce a hammerless version. Built on the Sharp-Tail platform, the Sharp-Tail Coach is a single-trigger coach gun with 20-inch cylinder bore barrels. It is available in 12 or 20 gauge. SRP: $959
When the BATFE confirmed the 590 Shockwave does not fall under NFA restrictions and requires no tax stamp, the world of shotguns changed and a floodgate of interest opened. The Shockwave comes with a 14-inch heavy-walled barrel and has a 5+1 capacity. New options include a 20 gauge version and a flat dark earth Cerakote finish, and a 12 gauge JIC (Just In Case) model that comes with a water-resistant storage/carry tube. SRP: $455
Standard features of the Mossberg 930 shotgun include a smooth-operating dual-gas-vent system, a drilled-and-tapped receiver, an ambidextrous safety, and a stock-drop spacer system. The 930 handles 2.75- and 3-inch shotshells with ease, and the new versatile 26-inch-barreled Bottomland model comes with an expanded choke-tube set for both turkey and waterfowl. SRP: $560. The 28-inch-barreled black synthetic stock version makes a great choice for upland and waterfowl hunting. SRP: $560
The 835 Ulti-Mag’s standard features include dual extractors, positive steel-to-steel lockup, twin action bars, an ambidextrous safety, and a clean-out magazine tube cap. The 835 Ulti-Mag shotguns handle all shotshells, including powerful magnum loads, and the over-bored 26-inch barrels provide reduced recoil and uniform, dense patterns. New for 2018 are a standard matte blue with a black synthetic stock version and a Bottomland-finished model. SRP: $604
All SA-20 and SA-28 International Bantam shotguns come with a 12.5-inch length of pull and are popular with young and small-statured shooters. For 2018, Mossberg has three new offerings. The Walnut Youth comes in 28 and 20 gauge and has a 28-inch barrel with a ventilated rib. It weighs only 6.25 pounds. SRP: $570. The Black Synthetic Youth is now available in 28 gauge and also has a 24-inch ventilated rib barrel. It weighs only 5.5 pounds. SRP: $674
Known as the workingman’s shotgun, Mossberg has three new Mavericks from which to choose. First is the six-shot Cylinder-bore 18.5-inch-barreled standard model with a flat dark earth stock. Next is a similar eight-shot version, but with a 20-inch barrel. And finally, there’s the six-shot, 18.5-inch model that comes with an ATI ShotForce folding stock, and weighs only 6 pounds. SRP: $296
Mossberg is treating those who like a little flair in their firearms with several shotguns finished in the newest Muddy Girl camo pattern. There’s the Model 500 20 gauge Super Bantam, with its adjustable length-of-pull system and 22-inch ventilated-rib barrel. And there’s the 510 Mini-Super Bantam, with the same length of pull adjustability, but with an 18.5-inch .410-bore or 20 gauge barrel. All weigh less than 6 pounds and come in the Serenity Muddy Girl camo pattern. They’re ideal for the young modern shooter who wants to stand out on the range or in the timber.
Rock Island Armory
Rock Island Armory is rolling out 20 new shotguns this year. They include one pump-action, four break-actions, and 15 semi-auto variants. The pump is an 18.6-inch-barreled smoothbore slug gun with a synthetic stock.
Break-actions include a 20-inch-barreled single-shot at 6.18 pounds, an over/under 28-inch-barreled 12 gauge at 7.18 pounds, a similar over/under Plus with a hand-engraved receiver, and an over/under Competition. All 12-gauge models accept 3-inch shells.
The semi-auto magazine-fed VR-60 is now offered in a plethora of colors, from tactical black and sand to rosy red and combinations. This wicked-looking shotgun resembles the AR in profile and weighs about 8 pounds, depending on variation. It will handle 3-inch shells. And, finally, we have the 5+1 magazine-fed Bull Rocket. This is a 12 gauge semi-auto bull-pup design with a 20-inch open-Cylinder barrel.
Notable features on the new Viper 410 shotgun include a lusciously beautiful Turkish walnut stock, a fiber-optic front sight, and a bronze finish. Out of the box, it weighs only 5.7 pounds.
Winchester expanded the Super X4 semi-auto shotgun line to include the SX4 NWTF Cantilever Turkey model. It comes with a 24-inch barrel and a Weaver-style cantilever rail that makes it easy to attach an electronic sight or scope. This 3½-inch model features a synthetic stock and forearm with full coverage in the non-glare Mossy Oak Obsession. A Truglo fiber-optic front sight and adjustable rear sight are standard. SRP: $1,069
The new SX4 Cantilever Buck 12-gauge 3-inch semi-auto has a synthetic stock and forearm in a non-glare matte black finish. The 22-inch rifled barrel also features a Weaver-style cantilever rail, and a Truglo fiber-optic front sight and adjustable rear are standard. SRP: $959
The SX4 Universal Hunter 12-gauge 3½-inch semi-auto wears Mossy Oak Break-Up Country. The receiver is drilled and tapped to accept scope bases.SRP: $1,069
Which shotguns top your list for 2018? Share your answer in the comment section.
Which new shotgun for 2018 are you excited about? Share your answer in the comment section.
Reporting by SHOT Business Daily, reprinted with permission. SHOT Daily, produced by The Bonnier Corporation and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, covers all facets of the yearly firearms-industry show. Click here to see full issues. Product pricing and availability are at of time of publication and subject to change without notice.